Friday, November 20, 2009
Preparing Our Hearts and Home for Christmas, Part 2: Pre-Planning and Organization
Because the Christmas season is a busy time of year, I started planning early (as in early October) in order to stay organized, peaceful, and calm. Planning ahead and lowering expectations will make this a wonderful season for our family! At the end of October, I created a free Christmas Countdown Holiday Planner which can be found here. Having everything in one binder allows me to avoid all the notes and lists on tiny scraps of paper, missing receipts, lost addresses, etc.
Here is my Holiday Organizer:
First and foremost, my planner includes a Holiday Values Worksheet. I am using this to remember what is truly important to our family during the season. This is the first page of my planner so it is the first thing I see every time I open the book!
Next, I have a series of printouts to record gifts, stocking stuffers, a to do list, a shopping list, cleaning list, Christmas card planner, baking list, cooking ideas, weekly menu plans through New Years, traditions, and a full section for the kids with ideas on activities, crafts, and some baking of their own. I also have an envelope to hold all receipts.
Also included in my binder is the Heavenly Homemaker's Guide to Holiday Hospitality and the Heavenly Homemaker's Guide to Holiday Hospitality for Kids which both can be found here. These e-books are full of biblical inspiration, ideas, tips, recipes, crafts, lists, etc. I absolutely love the Heavenly Homemakers website and all of Laura's e-books! Check it out!
FlyLady also has many holiday resources including a free Holiday Control Journal here.
I have been purchasing gifts here and there throughout the last few months using sales and coupons. I have not purchased anything that has not been on sale or that I was not able to use a coupon for. At this point, I have almost completed my shopping, and I can start wrapping this weekend. Shopping early has kept me on budget. If something I previously purchased gets drastically marked down between now and Christmas, I will return it and buy it again on sale. I will share some of our favorite toys and gifts later this month.
I have started my holiday baking by making and freezing some dough each week so when I need some sweets to give or enjoy, I am ready.
One of the most important things I have done is to menu plan for the coming weeks. I think it is important during this often indulgent season, to make sure I am cooking healthy meals for my family in the midst of all the cookies and candy.
In my next installment, I will discuss Christmas cards and include a link with a GREAT FREE deal on photo cards. Stay tuned!